Gulf economies to slow this year on sluggish oil demand - Reuters poll

By Anant Chandak BENGALURU (Reuters) - Economies in the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will grow this year at half the rate of 2022 as oil revenues take a

hit from an expected mild global slowdown, according to the median view from a Reuters poll of economists. Crude oil prices, a major driver for Gulf economies, are down more

than a third from last year's highs and were expected to remain under pressure this year over fears of a recession in major economies sapping demand. Overall growth in the

six GCC economies was forecast to average 3.3% and 2.8% this year and next respectively, the Jan. 9-23 poll showed, down from 4.2% and 3.3% in the previous poll. "The

outlook for 2023 is more cautious given the weaker external environment, although the GCC will likely continue to outperform many developed economies in terms of GDP growth,"

wrote Khatija Haque, head of research and chief economist at Emirates NBD. "While oil and gas output growth is expected to slow this year, continued investment to boost

production capacity in the region should see the sector contribute positively to headline GDP again in 2023." Brent crude is expected to average $89.37 a barrel in 2023,

nearly 4.6% lower than the $93.65 consensus in a November survey and lower than an average of $99 per barrel seen last year, a separate Reuters poll showed. Saudi Arabia,

the region's largest economy and top crude oil exporter, was forecast to grow 3.4% this year and 3.1% in 2024, slightly outperforming the region as a whole. The economy expanded

at a record pace of 8.8% in 2022.